Blog Entry

After 35 years, Astros fire Smith by phone

Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:44 am
 
Nobody uses fax machines anymore, so the Astros fired Tal Smith by phone.

I suppose they could have sent him a text, or tried to direct-message him on Twitter.

Look, it's hard to blame new owner Jim Crane for wanting a fresh start. As one long-time Astros person said to me Sunday night, Crane needs to look forward rather than back, and needs to start building something new.

Hiring George Postolos to replace Smith as club president and hiring a new general manager to replace the fired Ed Wade (Rangers assistant Thad Levine was a hot name Sunday night) are defensible moves, even inevitable moves.

But why do these firings have to be so messy?

When I heard from a source that Smith had been fired by phone, it brought back memories of August 1992, when Mike Ilitch officially took over the Tigers from Tom Monaghan.

Monaghan's last act, reportedly ordered by Ilitch as part of the same, was to fire club president Bo Schembechler and longtime club executive Jim Campbell.

Campbell, if I remember it right, was fired by phone. Schembechler (I'm sure of this) was fired by fax.

Campbell was 68 years old, and he had been with the Tigers for 43 of those years. Schembechler had been with the Tigers just 2 1/2 years, but he was a legend in the state.

Smith is 78. He just finished his 35th year with the Astros. He doesn't need to be club president anymore. But you'd think a new owner and new president might want to sit down and talk to him about the challenges ahead (who knows more about baseball in Houston?).

You'd even think that they wouldn't mind having him around in some capacity as the Astros celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2012.

Smith was there at the start, when they were the expansion Colt .45s. He was there when the Astrodome opened, and when the Astroturf went in, and he was there when Minute Maid Park opened.

He was there in 2005, when the Astros won the National League title for the only time in their history.

Now he's gone, and that's fine. Nobody deserves a job forever.

But anybody who did all that Tal Smith did deserves more than to be fired on a phone call.


Comments

Since: Mar 16, 2011
Posted on: November 28, 2011 4:19 pm
 

After 35 years, Astros fire Smith by phone

This whole thing is dumb.  I agree it is tactless to fire someone by phone... IF they had no idea it was coming.  Come on, the Astros have been in a long, drawn out process of changing ownership throughout most of the season.  Everyone expected this to happen, including the now former Astros management.  I'm sure Jim Crane et al have had repeated discussions with both Wade and Smith about this.  Crane probably just gave him a call to let him know it was official.  Y'all are overreacting about a useless little tidbit of news that lacks any coherent context whatsoever.



Since: Feb 2, 2007
Posted on: November 28, 2011 3:53 pm
 

After 35 years, Astros fire Smith by phone

My guess is Tal Smith was out of town and there was no other way to talk with him.  If that isn't the case then I agree it was a very poor way to conduct business.



Since: Apr 22, 2008
Posted on: November 28, 2011 3:35 pm
 

After 35 years, Astros fire Smith by phone

This is not about whether he should have been fired or not. It is about the classless owner that didn't have the decency to call him into the office after 35 years of service to the Astros. He deserves bettter than that.



Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: November 28, 2011 3:23 pm
 

After 35 years, Astros fire Smith by phone

I will never understand why any organization, anywhere, thinks that this is a good idea. Crane and the Astros have every right to decide that Tal Smith is no longer the man for the job, but make the marginal amount of effort involved to call the guy into your office, thank him for his contributions over the years, and tell him he is being let go.  Any employee deserves that minimal amount of respect, let alone someone who served the organization for so long. 




Since: Feb 29, 2008
Posted on: November 28, 2011 3:12 pm
 

After 35 years, Astros fire Smith by phone

I dont normally agree with Knobler, but on this issue I do 100%.  It was a totally classless act.



Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2011 2:01 pm
 

After 35 years, Astros fire Smith by phone

neither Cincinnati or the ASTROS have been a threat for YEARS.  Guy should have been fired a LONG time ago, but should have been told in person (reminds me of the Tom Landry firing by classless Jerky Jones.)



Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:44 pm
 

After 35 years, Astros fire Smith by phone

@osc....check out the head to head between the Stros and Reds and try again. Roy O was something like 24-2 against Sh*tcinatti and Berkman left many a jock for them to carry.



Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:35 pm
 

After 35 years, Astros fire Smith by phone

He's also the reason there is a freakin' hill in centerfield. I respect the guy, but he needed to go before now.



Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:12 pm
 

After 35 years, Astros fire Smith by phone

Whatever...

He got the intended message.



Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:09 pm
 

After 35 years, Astros fire Smith by phone

(who knows more about baseball in Houston?)
This may come as a surprise, but...just about anyone.


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